In a surprising move, the Houston, TX District Attorney’s office is instructing prosecutors to lessen criminal charges filed for possession of a crank pipe.
Starting immediately, the Harris County District Attorney will no longer consider possession of a crack pipe containing residue as a State Felony. Now, the offense is ticketable and classified as a Class C misdemeanor.
In a move that has backing from defense attorneys, the new procedure isn’t making everyone happy. According to the Houston Chronicle, President of the Houston Police Officer’s Union Gary Blankinship states “A crack pipe is not used for anything but smoking crack by a crack head. Crack heads, by and large, are also thieved and burglars…” He states that the change makes it difficult for police officers making cases against thieves.
Blankinship’s remarks are interesting though lack some basic legal foundation. The bottom line is you cannot punish a thief for stealing unless you have evidence that a theft has been committed. Stating you can somehow get thieves and burglars off the street by punishing people found with less than one-hundredth of a gram of crack cocaine simply doesn’t make sense.
This new change allows the legal system to focus on crimes that truly impact the community. Not to imply addiction doesn’t have an impact but when valuable court time and states resources are used to punish fairly minor, non violent crime, it takes the attention away from the offenses that need greater focus.
Now, if you are caught with a crack pipe or device for smoking pipe and it has a small residue, you will face a maximum fine of $500. Prior to the change you could face up to 2 years in prison and $10,000 in fines for what is called a state felony charge.
The small residue we are speaking about here must be less than one-hundredth of a gram. To put that in perspective, the Chronicle states that this amount is relatively the same weight as a half a grain of rice.
If you are facing drug charges in this area, you know first hand how police will seek to assist the DA in building a case against you. This is exactly why you need an advocate looking out for your rights.
If you need assistance in fighting the criminal charges against you, I can help. Contact me to discuss the specifics of your drug case and together we can formulate a plan.